"I've been deceiving myself through the worst of it
just hoping to make the best of this someday …"

I will excuse you if you mistakenly conclude that I know what I'm doing here. I have been what I consider fairly diligent in my pursuit of the various masteries of life, but I know without even delving very deeply down that I've yet to realize my aspirations. Decades ago, I quite deliberately chose to just get on with my life rather than wait around for any mastery to appear. I was aching to get moving and not so much impatient, for I'd idled a considerable time, but disgusted with inaction. This decision brought with it the apparent necessity of deceiving myself, for my sense of being an imposter could otherwise overwhelm me. I proceeded as if I were capable when I knew with certainty that I wasn't, not yet.

I still don't know how else one might pursue mastery without beginning that pursuit long before having achieved what one pursues.
The journey might matter much more than any arrival. The burden of SelfDeception might prove ominous, though. On my better days, I find myself fully capable of almost fully acknowledging the depth of my folly without undermining my momentum. Most days, though, I avoid bringing up the subject and proceed unencumbered. Clueless after a fashion, I pursue what I suspect might be a form of enlightenment. Until then, it seems necessary, essential, to wear blinders. I deep down believed that if I could just get enough practice in, I might one day become a writer, for instance. I authored one best-selling book, but since, I seem to have just been practicing for another, clearly not yet a master of my chosen craft.

One of my neighbors refers to me as a snowflake, a reference I had to look up to understand. As a derision, it means that I'm not tough enough to tolerate the normal turbulence accompanying life. I wear my SelfDeception as armor against just that kind of turbulence, because in my not yet fully-formed state, I'm rather delicate. My self confidence seems about as resilient as wax paper. My self esteem, hardly tougher. I'm able to continue practicing, pursuing, in no small part thanks to my now studied SelfDeception, a skill I might well master before I master any other. I revere my blinders. I respect their utility. I think I'm honest with myself about my grander SelfDeceptions. I can be seen right through by others, but never as often as I see right through myself.

I believe that I carry this cluelessness well, as an apparently necessary defense. It allows me to carry on, to proceed 'as if', and to contribute before graduation, a ceremony I might have lost faith in ever attending. I suspect that others, too, move around in their worlds in just this way. It renders this man wary and watchful, for he always knows the approximate depth of his own SelfDeception. He also understands that anyone might glimpse what he never fails to notice about himself. He's either faking it or making it up as he moves along. He doesn't know much, though he seems to suspect more each day. Almost nobody cares. He's scared that someone important to him might suddenly care and turn cruel, melting his delicate snowflake. It has happened before. It will likely happen again.

I want to speak up for my nurturing SelfDeception, for it has provided permission to proceed and protected tender aspirations through to finished results good enough to pass for well-crafted. In the finished product, little evidence of inexperience remains, the tool marks of ineptness sanded out through painstaking rework. I was at first unaware of how this world works, naively believing that I might gain some sort of certification, then begin practicing some profession. I suspect that this world never worked that way, and never will, though this secret's safe with me because I don't know the real secret. I know only my own little self-deceptive secret which has usefully nurtured me and left me vulnerable to anyone peering right through my SelfDeceptions and me.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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